Amarjit Singh and Jeakson Singh represented India in the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. They want cousin sister Kritini Devi to do the same in India next year.
Emerging Indian football player Amarjit Singh Kiyam hopes his cousin Kritini Devi gets selected in the Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in India early next year.
In 2017, India hosted a successful FIFA Under-17 World Cup, where Kritini Devi’s cousin brothers - Amarjit Singh and Jeakson Singh – became national heroes.
While Amarjit captained the national team, Jeakson Singh’s header against Colombia in the second group stage game made him India’s only goal-scorer in a FIFA competition.
Amarjit Singh hopes his sister follows their footsteps soon.
"She is one of the few girls from our place who started playing football with boys,” Amarjit Singh told the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
“I hope she gets selected and plays in the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. It will be a very proud moment for our family,” he said.
“Then we can be tagged as a World Cup family, isn't it?"
Already a part of the women’s squad managed by Swedish coach Thomas Dennerby, winger Thounajam Kritini Devi has already shown her potential.
For the Manipuri lass, her cousins are an inspiration.
"Every time Jeakson and I share our experiences with Kritini, she gets thrilled. Those are lifetime memories and don't sink in soon,” Amarjit Singh said.
“Hope she also gets the opportunity to experience these things at the biggest stage," he added.
After India’s FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign ended in the group stages, the raw talent of the Indian colts needed a platform to grow.
That was provided by the AIFF through the Indian Arrows project – a youth developmental side that competes in the I-league.
Amarjit believes that it helped raw talent “mature into better players”.
“After the World Cup we got to know that we are participating in the I-League that year and we were provided with a ladder to improve further as a team,” Amarjit said.
“Initially, we were scared as there were such good teams in the league – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Neroca and others. All of them had quality foreign recruits, and we had to compete against them.
“We understood it was the platform to gauge us as players and we knew the experience in the League would benefit our future a lot,” the midfielder added.
A couple of impressive displays for the Indian Arrows saw Amarjit getting picked by Indian Super League (ISL) side Jamshedpur FC in 2018 before coach Igor Stimac handed him his senior national debut in India’s 2019 King’s Cup campaign.